Southland stakes claim for wonderful Catlins


Last updated 11:03 22/07/2014
The Catlins
THE CATLINS: Wasted on Otago.

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New Zealand's top 10 landmarks from a recent TripAdvisor poll put Olveston in Dunedin in top place.

Southland doesn't feature on the list despite Milford Sound topping other polls, but in seventh place is Nugget Point. In the original Murihiku Purchase of 1853, the northern boundary of Murihiku was a line from Milford Sound to Kaihiku Hill then a short distance to Tokata (Nugget Point), but excluding Stewart Island and Ruapuke.

Many maintain that the Catlins is wasted on Otago and should rightfully be part of Southland, so perhaps we can claim a half-share.

The full list is

  1. Olveston
  2. Sky Tower
  3. Old St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington
  4. Stone Store, Kerikeri
  5. Parliament Buildings, Wellington
  6. Pompallier House, Russell
  7. Nugget Point
  8. Waitangi Treaty House
  9. Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo
  10. Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The highest women's cricket score reported in Southland is 400 to 141, James Hargest v St Peters on February 13, 1999.

The first astronomical observatory in New Zealand was a portable canvas one brought by Cook on the Resolution and used for observations in Dusky Sound in 1773. The instruments sat on stumps, some of which are still visible after 241 years.

In 1883-84 the crop on the Waimea Plains of 14,000 acres, mostly oats, was ruined by poor weather but the wheat of the following summer was remarkable to behold. Artist Samuel Moreton described it as, "the heaviest, or apparently so, known for some years past. The Waimea crops have the reality of what America boasts of in fiction - from the slopes of the Hokonui Hills to that of Longridge is one waving ocean of corn. The sight is truly admirable."

Hare coursing began officially in Southland on July 28, 1876. The Southland Times reported, "Yesterday morning about fifty gentlemen, comprising many of the most influential residents of Invercargill, started by a special train for the place of rendezvous, Morton Mains, There were altogether eleven dogs, hares were plentiful, and in the early part of the morning, in the nearer paddocks where tussocks abounded, there was a kill in almost every case."

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Coursing is an ancient sport that has now largely disappeared on humanitarian grounds. The crowd walks a field where hares have gone to ground. When one is flushed, two or more greyhounds are slipped and the winner is the one that nabs the hare or turns it the most times. Coursing became popular in the 1870s and 80s but interest faded. Presumably the vast number of rabbits distracted the dogs. Several types of dogs were bred for coursing - greyhounds, whippets and lurchers.


The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost that featured in this column last year as the car that had done the longest nonstop vehicle journey - Invercargill to Nelson in 1956 - has surfaced again in Florida, where it is a favourite at classic car shows. Sold in Invercargill in the 1960s for £100, it is now valued at US$2 million (NZ$2.28m). It has had the rather ugly Hudson body replaced with the very elegant original open-top configuration.

Can anyone help with pictures or information on unusual animal graves and memorials in Southland, aerial rabbit poisoning, animal longevity and fertility records and extreme fruit and vegetables. Can you add an otter sighting to the Southland list, which has about 15 examples now? Do you have old photos and postcards relating to Invercargill, Bluff, Stewart Island and wider Southland that could be copied?

About The South
Lloyd Esler 
15 Mahuri Rd, 
Otatara, RD 9, 
Phone-fax (03) 213 0404 

- The Southland Times


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